MLB Insider Names Cardinals' Single Biggest Trade Priority Ahead of Deadline
As July is underway, the St. Louis Cardinals remain in a tight battle for NL Central supremacy. The Cardinals trail the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers by three games as of July 5, leaving the team in the position of being buyers ahead of the MLB trade deadline.
St. Louis could afford to improve multiple areas, but MLB insider David Schoenfield is listing the starting rotation as the club's No. 1 trade priority. In fact, the ESPN senior writer has a specific arm that the Cards should target: Cincinnati Reds right-handed pitcher Tyler Mahle.
Cardinals Trade Rumors
Schoenfield's logic behind a Mahle trade is simple. Outside of Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas' strong play, the Cardinals' starting rotation has been riddled with injuries. Even when healthy, pitchers like Steven Matz have struggled to remain consistent on the mound.
Meanwhile, Mahle has been playing decent on the bottom-feeding Reds. His 3-7 record in 17 starts isn't mind-blowing, but his 4.48 ERA is decent given his situation. He's recorded 102 strikeouts and 36 walks over 92.1 innings pitched, holding opponents to a .239 batting average.
Another aspect that makes Mahle a worthwhile target is that he's arbitration-eligible in 2023, giving the Cardinals some flexibility. Schoenfield says that there's a chance that Wainwright could retire at the end of the season, while Mahle's presence would help smoothen that transition.
Adding Mahle could also give underperforming hurlers like Dakota Hudson and Jordan Hicks a kick in the pants, motivating them not to lose their rotational spot. That's the type of competition that can make the Cardinals batter, helping with their championship aspirations.
Cardinals World Series Odds
The Cardinals are beginning to be seen as a 2022 World Series threat and adding Mahle would only increase the probability of a title run. FanDuel Sportsbook currently has St. Louis available at +3000 (T-No. 9) to win its first championship since 2011.
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